Dark Ride opened at Dream Park in Giza, Egypt in 1998. It was part of a package of Vekoma Rides that anchored the park when it opened. Dark Ride is a Vekoma Enigma roller coaster very similar to the one that began in 1993 at Kumdoriland in South Korea. The difference here is that the ride lift hills are all indoor and the gravity portion in a separate portion of the building.
Efteling (Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands) is the Netherlands largest theme park, and they bring fairy tales to life. The park featured three roller coasters by 1998 and none showed the incredible theming and stories that made dark rides such as Fata Morgana (boat based dark ride themed after the 1001 Nights tales) and Droomvlucht (suspended dark ride that take riders into stories of elves and fairies). This approach brought immense park success, and they wanted to build a roller coaster with similar layers of story and presentation after original plans of expanding the Python roller coaster fell through.
Vekoma was selected as the ride vendor for the new project, and the remarkably smooth and comfortable MK-900 ride system chosen for the new attraction. The MK-900 was first seen on what became Temple of the Nighthawk at Phantasialand, and what made it desirable to Efteling were the wide cars and large capacity.
The Vogel Rok building from the air. This was shot from the Pagoda observation attraction.
For the story, Efteling tapped into the fascinating legend of Sinbad after discarding an idea where guests were to be the ingredients in a witch stew. Sinbad was a sailor who hailed from Baghdad and is said to have completed seven voyages around the known world at the time. Sinbad was a later addition to the famous 1001 Nights story cycles. He brought back incredible treasure and encountered many fantastic monsters, inspiring a lot of the lore that would make IP’s such as Dungeons and Dragons, Harry Potter and others so popular.
The second voyage of Sinbad brought him face to face with the Roc, a species of giant birds that appears in Middle Eastern and Persian stories. The name Roc comes from the Arabic word Rukk and Persian word Rukh.
Now that we have our theme and ride system, construction started at Efteling of the new ride. Vogel Rok was completed in 1998, and the ride opened on April 9th, 1998. The most impressive part of the journey is the façade: it features a giant Roc with the ride entrance between its legs. At the time of opening, it was the largest bird sculpture in Europe at 26 feet tall and 72 feet wide, providing a strong visual point for that side of the park. After passing the Roc, guests queued up inside a large queue hall that featured an impressive laser show. The large loading station followed after walking through middle-eastern style hallways.
Featuring large light fixtures, this is one of the largest enclosed coaster stations in the world. The ride features three 24 passenger trains (six cars of four), giving the ride incredible capacity. Those cars are equipped with onboard audio playing a custom soundtrack composed by Ruud Bos, who also made the music for other attractions at the park.
The experience inside was mostly dark at first; the park improved it in later years with lasers and a giant snake that the train dived into. The laser show in the Queue was used to tell the story of the Roc before it was deactivated when a new Queue Hall constructed in 2007.